How hard do you want to keep working?

Hey, there!

I got a message from a client asking me why she couldn’t figure out how to record in Garageband (because that’s all she knew) directly to an MP3 file.

I knew that the answer I gave would be to a different question, but I did it anyway.

Here’s what I said.

Sure, I could have just told her (and I did) that you have to export MP3s from sound software, not record directly in them.

But more importantly, I asked her if she’d be willing to entertain the possibility of learning how to use Audacity and LAME, as opposed to Garageband.


Because Garageband is heavy. Unwieldy. Slow to boot. Slow to edit. It’s meant for music, and is overkill for voice over. Some versions require iTunes and a few extra steps just to export MP3s. It’s a bit clunky, like ProTools Lite.

And Audacity is light. Small. Powerful. Quick to boot. Ready in a flash. Free, and easy to export MP3s out of when you install LAME.

And yes, there is a slight learning curve on how to audition with Audacity (I’ve got a video class that can make it real easy for you) or use Audacity to record, edit and master your auditions and books for ACX (I’ve got a video class for that, too), but it’s not difficult at all.

The real benefit?

The countless hours you’ll save over the next century of your VO work life, being faster at recording, editing and exporting your auditions and work.

That is my wish for you. It’s why I recommend the tools I do.

What has your experience been like with your choice of sound recording and editing software? Use the comments below to let me know.

Hope this helps.


11 Responses to How hard do you want to keep working?

  1. Lori Moran August 28, 2014 at 6:21 am #

    I use Izotope RX3 to record because it is only for voice and it has a few features I need to clean up mine (mouth clicks) that no other DAW has. Then I export and do the rest of my editing and conversion to MP3 in Audacity. Audacity is the easiest to use and has a great support community.

  2. Christopher Marshall August 28, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    When it comes to my DAW of choice I use adobe audition. If a client was asking me the same question as yours has asked you I would have told them the same thing. Audacity is free and low on cpu consuption for tasks like that. I have only had little experience with the program my self so maybe I will play around with it some day soon. Good call David.

  3. Peter Altschuler August 28, 2014 at 8:09 am #

    Sure, Audacity is free, but the extra time spent on editing — because it doesn’t offer punch and roll — cuts into your profit. That’s especially true if you’re doing audiobooks and being paid by the finished hour.

    • David H. Lawrence XVII August 28, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      I’m not sure what your hours-worked to finished-hour ratio is with ProTools’ other hamstrings (if you’re using ProTools), but I average about 2 1/2 to 3. Don’t assume that because punch and roll is a feature of your software that other “features” don’t weigh you down. The stairstep method I teach with Audacity is a huge time saver.

  4. Ellery Truesdell August 28, 2014 at 8:30 am #

    I’ve been using Audacity ever since David set me up with it. I can’t imagine anything quicker or easier to use. Using it with ACX is a breeze.

  5. Steve Marvel August 30, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    FWIW, I’ve set up a couple AutoHotKey scripts to automate punch-and-roll in Audacity. Not very difficult, and a huge time-saver. And a sop to ones closet nerd side, as well.

    • David H. Lawrence XVII August 30, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

      Any chance you want to share the AHK macro, Steve?

    • John June 27, 2017 at 4:07 am #

      It’d be a lot cooler if did, Steve

  6. Eileen Anglin June 27, 2017 at 5:37 am #

    I have been using audacity for years and once you learn how to use it, as David suggests in his post, it is quick and easy.

  7. Bob Honest June 27, 2017 at 6:16 am #

    I am extremely interested in learning how to set up the AutoHotKey scripts to automate punch-and-roll in Audacity as mentioned by Steve Marvel…Thanks for sharing!!!

  8. Summer September 4, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

    I’ve been recording and editing podcasts on Macs for over 10 years, and Audacity worked great for a while, but I remember a few updates that caused it to become unstable on Mac, causing more work recovering files than when actually recording them.

    About 3-4 years ago, I switched to Twisted Wave, and combined with ID3 Editor, editing is faster, and simpler. I’m sure there are some things that can be improved, but I haven’t missed Audacity much at all.

    But when I can afford it, Adobe Audition is something I want to try out some day.

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